My Experience of 9/11 ~ An Alaskan’s Perspective

By Lynda Lamp

This year is the 16 year anniversary of the events that occurred in the United States on September 11, 2001, and what we have come to refer to as 9/11.

I live in Seward, Alaska. The night of September 10, 2001, I drove to our friends home off Old Exit Glacier Road, for some company. My husband was working in Fairbanks, and I was on my own. As we sat around talking and drinking tea, the conversation turned to disasters and earthquakes and for some reason that I don’t remember we focused on Los Angeles. The conversation was meandering along when all of a sudden I exclaimed:

“Well, I can tell you one thing! There’s one place I wouldn’t want to be right now!”

Everyone looked at me rather astonished. “Where?”

“New York City! It’s all bridges and tunnels. It can become impossible to escape and then you’re trapped there with millions of people.” I replied.

I had no idea what had given me the impulse to say what I said.  I am an empath, and I have struggled with this kind of thing my entire life. Who knows if it’s a dream, or an ego impulse or a divine download? It’s only been the past few years that I’ve grown confident in my ability to tell the difference, but that my friend is a different story. At the time I was clueless to what it meant. I didn’t have an impulse to call any of the people living in the area to tell them to get out. I made a note of that.

Our conversation wandered away from disasters. Alaskans are proud of their capacity to survive, and we expressed our gratitude for the things we have that neither Los Angeles or New York have: a plentitude of clean water and ample food sources. Everyone in the room that night had moved to Alaska in part because they could feel “something coming.” These feelings date back to 40-50 years ago; we’ve all been here a long time at this point. I wouldn’t call any of us “survivalists,” as such, but as Alaskans, we have a competitive attitude, and we know we can handle anything.

Eventually, the evening ended, and I went home. The dogs and I went to bed. I had to get up early because my shift at the hotel in town started at 7 am.  It was about 5:30 am Alaska time when I turned on the T.V. It was 9:30 am in New York City.

The Twin Towers sat on Manhattan, one of those islands I was talking about last night, the only access in and out is via tunnels and bridges (and boat and helicopter I suppose).

Both towers had suffered hits. On the T.V., they were replaying the hits and flipping around from different angles. Showing the random clips coming in from eye witnesses.  It was all very confusing. I stood there stunned, remembering my words from the night before.

Ten minutes later they announced the FAA had halted all operations at all U.S. Airports, a devastating thing for Alaska when about a third of our population lives remotely!  I knew I needed to get to work at the hotel asap. I couldn’t move from my spot. I was like a doe in the headlights. I didn’t like being home alone anymore.

Three minutes later, at 9:43 ET a plane crashed into the Pentagon.

Two minutes after that, just fifteen minutes after I woke up that morning the White House evacuated.

I remember standing this entire time, my mouth hanging open watching it all unfold on the screen before me.  At some point, I called my husband (although he wasn’t my husband yet).

Cell phone reception was spotty, and we had a disjointed conversation. While we were on the phone, at 10:05 am ET the south tower fell. At that point, I had to sit down.

Five minutes later a portion of the Pentagon collapsed. At the same time, 10:10 am ET a plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

From that point on it seemed like pandemonium.

From’s CNN’s chronological report:

  • 10:13 a.m.: The United Nations building evacuates, including 4,700 people from the headquarters building and 7,000 total from UNICEF and U.N. development programs.
  • 10:22 a.m.: In Washington, the State and Justice departments are evacuated, along with the World Bank.
  • 10:24 a.m.: The FAA reports that all inbound transatlantic aircraft flying into the United States are being diverted to Canada.
  • 10:28 a.m.: The World Trade Center’s north tower collapses from the top down as if it were being peeled apart, releasing a tremendous cloud of debris and smoke.
  • 10:45 a.m.: All federal office buildings in Washington are evacuated.
I left for work at some point. I got there early. Good thing I did, we had some guests who suddenly found themselves trapped in Alaska, many of whom were at the end of their vacation or trip and had been planning on checking out and flying home from Anchorage that day.

Things have never been the same since that day. I am a Native New Yorker. I was born in the Bronx. I lived in the region and city when the World Trade Center Towers got built and after.  I know the skyline before the towers. I know the skyline with the towers. To this day I do not know the skyline without the towers. Something is always missing.

Blessings to all who left us that day or as a result of these heinous crimes. We will never forget you.

 

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